Cybersecurity

Data Breaches Affect Millions of People Each Year – Here's What Victims Should Know

Unless you are completely off the grid, data breaches are impacting you, one expert warns

NBC Universal, Inc.

When you get a notification that says you’ve been a part of data breach, do you just ignore it because it happens often?  

Sometimes you’re just not sure how to react, or you feel like there is nothing you can really do about it.

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The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization established to support victims of identity crime, recently released its 17th annual Data Breach Report.   It says although there were fewer incidents reported last year than in 2021, at least 422 million people were impacted by data compromises.   

The center says it continues to see an alarming trend ---recent data breach notices are lacking critical details.

Eva Velasquez, director of the Identity Theft Resource Center, says only 34% of data breach notices last year actually included information about the number of victims and the root cause of the attack.

“There is this lack of transparency, real critical information included in these notices, and it's tying our hands in our ability to recover from these crimes,” says Velasquez.   “Industry doesn't know what the root cause of these attacks are, so they can't prepare and prepare their own systems and make sure that they aren't vulnerable. And the impacted individuals don't know specifically what data about them has been compromised, so they can't develop a concise recovery plan. The implications of this lack of transparency are huge for recovery and risk minimization in the data compromise space.”

According to Velasquez, unless you are completely off the grid, data breaches are impacting you.  And, if you receive a notice that you’re involved in one, you need to react to it.  Steps might include freezing your credit or changing your passwords.

If you don’t have enough information or aren’t sure what to do, you can reach out to the Identity Theft Resource Center, which offers free assistance to victims at https://www.idtheftcenter.org/.

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